Today in Cleantech

With the Shanghai Auto Show underway, it’s a good time to recap the critical role that China will be playing in the electric vehicle and green transportation industries — both as a manufacturer and as a market. On the manufacturing side, Honda reports that it plans to start making electric vehicles in China as early as next year, and Toyota said it would make low-emission vehicles and their parts in China, partly as a way to diversify the production base for its Prius line of hybrid cars away from quake-stricken plants in Japan. Both will be building vehicles for export, but also for China’s own market, which is now the world’s largest by volume. It’s also quite receptive to the idea of electric vehicles, according to a recent survey from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd.’s global manufacturing group, which found that up to 50 percent of Chinese considered themselves potential “first-movers” in buying an electric vehicle, compared to only 16 percent in Europe, 12 percent in the United States and a surprisingly low 4 percent in Japan.